Parts Of A Toilet

Whether you’re looking for a new toilet or just want to learn more about the different types of toilet out there, it’s important to understand what parts make up a toilet. You have the typical things like the toilet seat, drain pipe, and toilet tank.

But there are tons of other parts of a toilet that are vital to its operation.

The Basics

No matter how advanced your flushing mechanism or how unique your toilet flush valve is, all toilets function in the same basic way.

The toilet bowl is filled with water. A person sits on the seat above it to do their business.

The toilet tank is attached to the back, either as one conjoined piece or as two pieces fastened with washers.

The toilet tank is the source of the toilet’s water supply. It connects to the supply line and refills with every flush.

Pieces like the flush handle and flush valve help regulate the water that moves into the bowl during a flush.

If you need to do toilet repair work, it’s vital that you understand the parts of a toilet. Toilet work is best done when you can diagnose the issue yourself.

If you’re having trouble figuring out what you need for this home improvement project, you can also call a plumber for help.

Toilet Bowl

Toilet Bowl

You sit on top of the toilet bowl when you use the bathroom. The bowl is responsible for holding your waste.

At the bottom of the hole is an opening that will drain the water when you flush.

Toilet bowls can be made from a variety of different materials. Many are crafted from porcelain or ceramic.

Though heavy, these materials are popular because of their sturdiness and ease of cleaning.

There are also toilet bowls that come glazed with an antimicrobial finish. This finish keeps waste from sticking to the sides of the bowl, and it prevents bacterial and viral growth inside your toilet.

When the water flows, it’s easier to flush waste with a smaller amount of water.

Tank Seal

Tank Seal

Not every toilet will have a tank seal. But this is a vital part of the toilet when you’re working with a two-piece model.

Two-piece designs have their bowl and tank separate, rather than fused into a single piece.

The O-ring is a rubber or wax ring that seals the tank and the bowl together. A proper seal will keep water from leaking onto the floor when the toilet flushes.

However, these seals do wear down over time. If you find that your toilet is leaking from the tank but not the bowl, the seal is a likely culprit.

You’ll need to replace it after using the shut-off valve to empty the tank and faucet.

Toilet Flange

Toilet Flange

The toilet flange, or floor flange, can be found under the toilet bowl. It is a round bracket crafted from plastic or metal.

It should protrude over the floor above the drain pipe.

This flange must be attached to your floor with bolts or screws. It is responsible for keeping your toilet in place.

The base of the toilet then attaches using heavy-duty bolts.

If your flange has been exposed to a lot of leaking water, it might rust or break. That can cause the toilet to feel unstable when you use it.

Toilet leaks from the bottom of the appliance are often related to the floor flange or the wax seal.

With a broken flange, you’ll have to take the toilet off, replace the flange, and then put the toilet back on.

Wax Seals

Wax Seals

Wax seals aren’t just for the toilet tank. They also help to seal the toilet to the flange.

One of the seals should be placed at the bottom of the bowl and on top of the flange. This keeps the toilet bowl from leaking.

It’s not possible to reuse a wax seal, so when it wears down, you’ll need to replace it. Similarly, you can’t take a wax seal off the toilet and then put it back on.

If your floor flange is fine, but you’re seeing leaks around the base of the toilet, then the issue might be related to the wax seal. It could either be worn down or too small.

You’ll have to scrape the seal off, throw it out, and then put on a new ring of wax or silicone .

Some manufacturers sell extra-thick rings. These are an ideal choice for a DIY replacement because they last longer and give you a better seal.

Toilet Tank

Toilet Tank

As mentioned, the tank holds water for the toilet. When the toilet flushes, this water moves into the toilet bowl.

The flushing mechanism is activated by using the toilet handle attached to the tank.

While toilet tanks can be crafted of many different materials, the most common is porcelain. Since there aren’t any moving pieces inside, it’s rare for them to malfunction.

However, high pressure can cause a tank to crack. Sometimes you can fix mild cracks by drying the tank, putting silicone over the crack, letting it dry, and then refilling it.

But sometimes you’ll need to replace the tank entirely.

Toilet Handle and Chain

Toilet Handle and Chain

The handle is a lever that you use to flush. With dual flush systems, there may be two buttons on top of the tank rather than a lever.

The handle attaches to an arm, which is inside the tank. At the end of the arm is a lift chain.

When the handle lifts the chain, it releases the toilet flapper.

The toilet handle tends to be sturdy enough not to malfunction. However, sometimes the inside arm can become bent or broken with long term use.

A metal arm can be unbent, but a plastic arm will have to be replaced.

Since the arm and the handle are connected, you’ll need to replace the handle if you have to replace the arm.

Sometimes the chain gets tangled and holds the flapper valve slightly open. This is a common cause of a running toilet.

Chains might also break over time since they’re used so often.

If your toilet chain breaks at one end, you can reattach it with wire. But it might be a better idea to just get a replacement.

You can typically find new chains in a basic flapper repair kit.

Toilet Float

Toilet Float

The float is a part of the toilet tank that manages the amount of water that enters. It is a round ball made of buoyant metal or plastic.

As the tank fills, the ball floats, hence the name.

Once the ball reaches a certain height, the tank stops filling with water. This can help prevent spillage without even needing a proper overflow tube.

Sometimes a float will become damaged and won’t float anymore. In this case, you’ll need to replace it.

A damaged float might be the reason that your toilet is running, not filling up, or overflowing.

Toilet Flapper

Toilet Flapper

The flapper is found inside the toilet tank. When it lifts up, water moves into the toilet bowl.

When it closes, the toilet tank seals and refills.

The flapper opens when the lever is pulled. Then it falls back down after the water has flowed into the bowl.

Like many parts of a toilet, the flapper can wear down over time. Sometimes it stops sealing properly and becomes hard.

That’s another cause of a running or leaking toilet.

A new flapper can be bought for your toilet and installed relatively easily. Like chains, these components are often part of a toilet tank repair kit.

Refill Tube

Refill Tube

Your refill tube is a length of plastic tubing inside the tank. It allows water to trickle into the bowl as the toilet refills.

This is vital because toilets need liquid in them to protect your home from sewer gas.

Like many types of plastic, refill tubes are prone to leaking and cracking as time goes on. You’ll want to replace them to make sure that you’re still getting a proper seal without leakage.

Shut-Off Valve

Shut-Off Valve

There should be a shut-off valve for the water supply. Rather than being connected to the toilet, this is a knob connected to the piping itself.

It’s vital that you shut off this valve before making any repairs to your toilet.

Failing to shut the water off can cause flooding in the bathroom as you work. You might also consider shutting the water off if your toilet keeps running without any explanation.

Otherwise, you could be wasting hundreds of gallons of water per day. That’s not great for your utility bill!

Sometimes a shut-off valve’s handle will break. That goes especially for plastic handles. If you turn them too tightly, they might crack.

Fortunately, the handles tend to be pretty easy to replace. As long as the supply line itself isn’t leaking, you can simply remove the old handle and put a new one on instead.